What to do when you are pulled over for drunk driving
Recently, in Long Valley, New Jersey, a 54-year-old man was pulled over late in the evening for a traffic violation. The police officer believed that he was under the influence of alcohol, allegedly evident by the smell of his breath.
The officer immediately gave the driver a field sobriety test; the man failed to prove his innocence. He was charged with drunk driving. The police officer claims that when the driver was arrested, he started arguing and tried to escape, to no avail. The accused has not had the opportunity to respond to these allegations.
In this case, the driver’s failure to cooperate with the police officers may lead to additional charges.
Cooperation is extremely important during traffic stops. However, this does not mean that you need to do everything a police officer tells you to do if you are stopped for drunk driving. Like any person accused of a crime (or, in this case, a traffic violation), you are presumed to be innocent.
So what should you do if police pull you over?
- First, you should have your license, registration and insurance documents ready, and your car’s interior lights should be on.
- Make yourself visible to the officer and be respectful. By arguing, you can end up in a much worse position than you would be in otherwise.
- Do not answer any question you feel uncomfortable answering – you have the right to remain silent and you may exercise that right.
- If the officer asks you to perform a field sobriety test, comply with that request. Failure to perform the tests may be used as evidence of guilt.
- Keep in mind that refusing to give a breath test is considered a separate violation in addition to DWI.
If you are charged with DWI after your stop, your next step should be to seek the help of an experienced DWI defense lawyer.
Source: LongValleyPatch, “Man Tried Fleeing During DWI Arrest, Cops Say,” Sept.11, 2012